“Come on folks, settle down – and let’s imagine a story…”
Imagery is what your readers need, constantly. Imagine they’re like the dragon St George slayed (…when it was alive). Constantly needing sacrifices, constantly needing food to keep it at bay. Your readers are like that (although hopefully not fire-breathing and people-eating – if they are, run, run very fast and very far). Just with imagery.
But make sure it’s good imagery, otherwise that those readers, who are dragons but are not dragons will get angry and irritated (ok, that’s just left me confused about dragons and readers. Let’s go back to readers).
Long words can confuse and muddle your audience, leaving them wishing they had a dictionary imprinted in their brain; but also make sure it’s not short, boring sentences, eg, “Her hair was dark brown and shoulder length. It was curled. Her eyes were blue.” (Oh, and please, for the love of gods, don’t describe eyes as ‘orbs’ for the next twenty years – it’s so overused.)
To write good imagery, imagine you’re seeing your scene on a film. Say what you see; describe some of it; explain the relevant parts. Give your reader a place they can really imagine in their minds, like you’re taking them to a place, but only if they know where it is – and those dragons (or was it readers?) really want to go there.
If you can see the picture in your mind when you read what you’ve written, send it to a friend, and ask if they can see a good one, too. If they can, then it’s probably good imagery. If they’re left confused – well, what’s to say you can’t edit?
So yes, imagery – very important. If you take anything away from this slightly-weird article (sorry, I’ve just been writing, gimme a break), then let it be this: DON’T ANGER THE DAMN DRAGONS.
– Hannah 🙂